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game recap

Avalanche end losing streak, power past Coyotes

Rantanen has three points to help Colorado earn first win in four games

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche moved into a Western Conference wild-card position with a 5-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Mikko Rantanen had a goal and two assists for the Avalanche (36-24-8), who had lost three in a row after regulation. Colorado holds the second Western wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings.

Tyson Jost scored a power-play goal at 10:45 of the third period to give the Avalanche a 4-2 lead, and Rantanen scored at 12:40 with a backhand to make it 5-2.


[WATCH: All Coyotes vs. Avalanche highlights]


"It was nice for me to get that goal," Jost said. "It was a nice play by [Tyson] Barrie. He got a puck on net and I saw it hanging in the air. I took a swing at it, happy it went in."

The Avalanche are 4-0-3 in their past seven games and have gone 14-1-1 in their past 16 home games.

Richard Panik and Christian Dvorak scored, and Darcy Kuemper made 26 saves for the Coyotes (21-35-11), who were 3-0-1 in their previous four games and 9-2-2 in their prior 13.

Video: ARI@COL: Dvorak tips home Panik's shot in front

Jost scored after Arizona was called for too many men on the ice.

"We were in pretty good control and, obviously, the penalty killed us," Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. "Kind of a bouncy puck in front of our net."

Semyon Varlamov (four saves) replaced Jonathan Bernier (22 saves) at 7:27 of the third period. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Bernier had a sore neck after taking an Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot to the mask in the second period. Bernier missed the previous 10 games because of a concussion.

Video: ARI@COL: Bernier, MacKinnon combine to keep puck out

"Kind of rung his bell a little bit there," Bednar said. "Whether he got a headache or anything like that, I don't know."

The Avalanche took a 3-1 lead in the first period when the teams scored four goals in 2:37.

Blake Comeau scored on the first shot at 1:45 off a pass from Carl Soderberg for a 1-0 lead. The Coyotes tied 1-1 on Dvorak's goal at 2:14.

The Avalanche went ahead 2-1 when Barrie scored from the right point at 2:41 off a pass from Nathan MacKinnon. Soderberg made it 3-1 at 4:22 when his pass intended for Matt Nieto hit Panik and went past Kuemper.

Video: ARI@COL: Barrie's wrister finds twine through traffic

"We had a great start, but we didn't do a good job after that," Barrie said. "Maybe we thought we were feeling it a bit more than we were, that [goals] were going to keep coming easily. It was imperative that we play big-boy hockey."

The Coyotes made it 3-2 at 15:09 of the second period on Panik's goal in the slot after a pass from Brad Richardson.

"I thought we were in pretty good shape and then special teams take over," Tocchet said. "They scored and we didn't. The special teams won tonight."


Goal of the game

Jost's goal at 10:45 of the third period.

Video: ARI@COL: Jost smacks puck out of midair for PPG


Save of the game

Bernier's save against Richardson at 4:29 of the third period.

Video: ARI@COL: Bernier uses skate to stone Richardson


Highlight of the game

Comeau's goal at 1:45 of the first period.

Video: ARI@COL: Comeau finishes Soderberg's nice feed


They said it

"I'm comfortable to do that, I guess. Guys will respect that, that I fought. I'm sure a lot of people don't expect me to. The guys' respect in this locker room means more to me than anything else." -- Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon on his first-period fight with Coyotes forward Jordan Martinook


"They're battling for the playoffs and we don't want to just play the games for fun, we want to compete. Too bad we came up short." -- Coyotes forward Richard Panik


"We took our foot off the gas in the second period a bit. We had a good chat between the second and third periods, talked about [the playoffs], and we came out in the third period and we played a playoff style game." -- Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie


Need to know

Bernier won his ninth straight home game to tie the franchise record set by Dan Bouchard for the Quebec Nordiques in 1983-84. ... Coyotes forwards Derek Stepan and Laurent Dauphin were each helped off the ice in the third period after getting hit by shots from Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov. Tocchet didn't have an update on either. ... The Avalanche went 1-for-4 on the power play, the Coyotes went 0-for-4. Colorado has a power-play goal in seven consecutive games. ... MacKinnon has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in a seven-game point streak. ... Barrie has nine points (four goals, five assists) in a five-game point streak.


What's next

Coyotes: Host the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, SNP, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Video: Balanced attack leads Avalanche to 5-2 win

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